Author Topic: A cautionary tale...not for the squeamish  (Read 130 times)

Offline barry905

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A cautionary tale...not for the squeamish
« on: July 08, 2018, 08:56:45 AM »
As we are bathed in hot weather at the moment I notice a large number of people riding around in just t-shirts and shorts. I understand why - you stop at a light with a hot engine between your legs and you feel like you are being cooked! However....

First a little background. I started riding bikes in 1967 when I was just old enough - literally the day I was. I was 16 then, young and stupid and thought I was invulnerable. So occasionally I wouldn't bother with a helmet (not illegal then), and more often not even a coat. Of course this meant that I came off fairly often, but in those days in the UK learner riders were limited to bikes with an engine of less that 250cc  so the damage we could do to ourselves was somewhat limited. Most often just scraping off skin and bruises. Which is painful and makes a good lesson.

Fast forward 50 years. After a break to raise a family and other adulty things, I got another bike, my GS. As I am allegedly and adult now I also got the gear to go with it - proper jacket, pants, boots, gloves and helmet. So last September I was riding down to my brother-in-law's cottage and riding along a nice country road. There are three cars in front of me, and we are going at about 100 kms/hr. We go over a narrow bridge, and then the car in front decides he needs to turn left. So he slams on his brakes, as does the car behind him and the one behind that. So of course I do too. The only problem is that the bridge has had recent road works and is covered in gravel. So off I go! One minute I am happily riding down the road, the next I am sliding along it six feet behind my bike!

The good news is that the bike did not hit anything and nothing hit me. We both ended up sliding about 50 yards along the asphalt. The bad news was that I had wrecked all my riding gear and had lost a little skin. As it was a lovely day I was not wearing gloves, but I was wearing the rear of my protective gear. This is what happened to it:


 
And to me:




The GS lost a front turn signal and some of the plastic on the fairing was scraped off, and the saddle bag on one side was wrecked. Oddly enough, the eggs in it were unbroken! My knees were in fact burned rather than scraped, and there was no sign of any abrasions on the knees of the pants, so I can only assume that that the armoured pads had worked, but had transmitted the heat to my knees. After being checked out by both the police and paramedics I was allowed to finish my ride to the cottage. I also found out that I was the third motorcyclist to have had an accident at that bridge: the other two riders, however, were air-lifted to hospital.

So finally to the moral: ATGATT.

Take care.
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Offline ShowBizWolf

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Re: A cautionary tale...not for the squeamish
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2018, 09:39:15 AM »
barry905 thank you for sharing your story... and I am VERY glad you are OK!

The times I've biffed it, most of them have been due to gravel. It's crazy stuff, for sure.

It has been in the 80's (F) here for a few weeks now and I love it... I love summer!! And as tempting as it is for me to just grab my helmet and gloves and go, I always make sure I have long pants on and my armored riding jacket. I have armored pants as well although I admit, I don't wear them every single time I head out.

I recently bought this mesh armored zip up shirt on eBay... I'll have to find the link if anyone is interested. But it's wonderful in the hot weather, and most of my hoodies and other non-riding jackets fit over it nicely.

There are lots of base layers that are designed to cool you on hot days (right Watcher?  ;) ) so it certainly is possible to wear the proper gear and still be protected... and look good at the same time!

Sending good thoughts your way. Feel better soon.
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Offline mr72

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Re: A cautionary tale...not for the squeamish
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2018, 01:31:07 PM »
Thanks for the story and the reminder.

I ride often with my dad, he's 66 and he grew up riding motorcycles in the little small town where I'm from again with a helmet but often with shorts and t-shirt and tennis shoes. He'd never take off without a helmet but it's Texas in the summertime, it's hot, and he pretty much refuses to wear any kind of other gear including gloves. The other day we went for a long ride and he wore khaki shorts, a short-sleeve buttondown shirt and his 3/4 helmet, athletic shoes and no gloves. I cringe every time I see him take off like that but what can you do? I can't control another person.

My wife, however, can control another person when it comes to me so before I got my MC license about 2 years ago after I bought the bike she insisted that I gear up. I have a good kevlar full face helmet, armored gloves and two armored jackets, one leather that I like a lot but it's too hot to wear in the summer and the mesh one that's almost tolerable in the summer as long as you're moving. I don't have any riding pants, always wear jeans, and while I have riding boots, I haven't ordinarily worn them but instead just use leather boots of some kind that are not MC-specific.

I do admit though that when I am taking a trip to the grocery store on roads where you never exceed 40mph and it's 101F outside I may take off in jeans and a t-shirt, using only my gloves and helmet. I figure I have ridden thousands of miles on these roads at 35mph on a bicycle wearing only lycra clothes and a bicycle helmet so if that was an acceptable risk then it's the same for the motorcycle. But that's really rare. Fact is if it's 80-90 degrees I always wear the mesh jacket and under 80 degrees I'll wear the leather. In the summer I won't ride the bike anywhere where I can't be completely drenched in sweat when I get there, because basically with the mesh jacket and 95-100F and 60-80% humidity you have pretty much no choice.

I'm with you about gravel on roads. Terrified of it. Just seems like there's so little margin for error. I've had a sports car wind up going the wrong way due to gravel in a curve too many times for comfort and that's with twice as many wheels on the ground. What's a high-pucker maneuver in a car is a potential ambulance ride on a bike.

Offline yamahonkawazuki

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Re: A cautionary tale...not for the squeamish
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2018, 02:17:33 PM »
Barry you know the rule of MC riding. There are two types of riders. Those who have had an incudent, and those who will.  But good to know youre able to tell us about it.
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Offline Watcher

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Re: A cautionary tale...not for the squeamish
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2018, 10:48:33 PM »
Glad to see you're (mostly) unharmed.  Keeping your skin is a good thing.

As SBW alluded, I know a thing or two about hot weather riding.
I live in AZ, I don't own a car, and I'm in the industry (CycleGear).

ATGATT is me, even in 115įF+ heat and sun.  You give up some comfort now to save you from a LOT of discomfort later.  But it's not unbearable if you have the right stuff.

Base layer is possibly the most important part, something moisture wicking (and SPF rated is a plus) and long sleeve is best.

I'll never not ride fully geared, but as a secondary rule I'll never ride without at least helmet and gloves.  A rashed arm is a pain, but your head and your hands are how most people function on a daily basis.  Protect those at all cost.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2018, 10:50:44 PM by Watcher »
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Offline barry905

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Re: A cautionary tale...not for the squeamish
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2018, 04:32:56 AM »
Thanks for all the support.

I have to agree about the mesh clothing - as you can see that is what I was wearing at the time, and that is what it got replaced with.  I have a cold weather jacket which I wear in the spring and fall, but it's way too hot when the temperature gets above 20. And this week is has been 35!

I was lucky that I didn't break any bones or damage any soft tissue. I got away with only a few scrapes on my hands (my fault entirely) and some burns on my knees. The burns are the only visible signs of my accident now, and I function normally (for me). I like to think that many years of riding experience contributed to that, as well as wearing the correct equipment (mostly).

Bottom line is that coming off a motorbike at that speed is never going to be without cost, but with the right gear you can minimise that cost.

I am one lucky puppy.
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Offline Watcher

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Re: A cautionary tale...not for the squeamish
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2018, 03:29:38 PM »
I wonder if what happened to your knees is more or less a "carpet burn".

If the knees of the pants aren't abrased then they wouldn't have transferred heat to the inside, since nothing outside was generating heat.
If the knees are "roomy," however, your knees may have been sliding against the inside of the pants.

All the more reason why motorcycle gear should be tight fitting.
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Offline Bluesmudge

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Re: A cautionary tale...not for the squeamish
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2018, 09:01:19 PM »
A good wake up call that cheap mesh gear is not much better than denim. If Iím going freeway speeds itís leather all the way. I hope to some day to be able to afford Kevlar mesh gear that is supposedly as good as leather.